It’s Totoro Week! It’s something I look forward to every year: the last week in October, where I dress food up as Totoro, that magical bunny-cat hybrid from the cult classic anime, My Neighbor Totoro. Totoro is cute in all renditions, but I think he looks especially handsome in food, so it’s no surprise that I love making anything and everything Totoro themed. I’m still dreaming of meeting a real life Totoro, but since you only see him if you’re very young (at least according to the theme song), I guess I’ll just have to setting for celebrating Halloween with Totoro food stuffs.
I’m in love with these Totoro buns. They’re soft and fluffy and sweet, just how I imagine a real life Totoro would be. Essentially, I have nothing to say about these buns because I’m all cute-ed out. I pretty much had a permanent smile on my face while I was making them and they’ve rendered me speechless. But, I will say this: they were super tasty. Mike and I had them for breakfast for a couple of days in a row and after they were all eaten, I had Totoro bun withdrawl.
This bun recipe was the one that convinced me that I could be a good bread baker, so I hope you give it a go and make some Totoros! Stay tuned for more Totoros coming your way this week :)
PS – Totoro Week is totally a thing, just ask Lyndsay of Coco Cake Land, who has participated for three years in a row! Some other peeps are making Totoro-themed foods too and I’ll be linking them here in a round-up on Friday.
Totoro Pull-Apart Bun Recipe
makes 9 buns
- 120 grams water, warm
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 250 grams bread flour
- 30 grams sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 large egg, lightly beaten
- 25 grams butter, at room temperature
- icing sugar
- white chocolate, melted
- dark chocolate, melted
slightly adapted from Bento Monsters
I often find myself scaling recipes and having things call for 1/2 large egg. I usually whisk a whole egg in a small bowl, then measure out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the whisked egg.
Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water. Let proof.
In the bowl of your mixer, stir together the flour, sugar and salt.
Whisk the egg into the yeast mixture, then add to the dry ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it comes into a ball and then switch to a dough hook and knead until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides.
Add the room temperature butter and continue to knead, about 10 minutes, until the dough reaches the windowpane stage – take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and stretch it out between your fingers and thumbs. If you can stretch it without the dough breaking, you’re good to go.
Transfer to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Take the dough and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down lightly then divide into 10 equal portions. Use your kitchen scale to see how much your dough weighs, then divide by 10.
Roll out 9 portions of dough and bring the edges towards the center and tucking into balls. Lightly grease the pan and place the 9 buns in. There will be space between the buns, don’t worry, they’ll rise. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
When the buns have proofed so that they’re touching each other, divide the last piece of dough into 18 pieces and shape into ears. Place onto the buns, cover and continue to let proof for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 356°F and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely, then dust the bellies with icing sugar. I cut out a round stencil to keep the sugar from going everywhere.
Pipe on his eyes, nose, and whiskers. Enjoy!